“O my Sustainer! Open up my heart to your Light.” (Qur’an 20:25)
“Open the window of your heart; the Moon will kiss you through the window.” (Rumi)
Opening to heart to God’s Light and Love is a two-way proposition. We can do the work on our end of becoming conscious of God’s presence in our life, constantly striving to act with compassion and justice towards our fellow beings, including all of God’s creation. But inevitably we meet with roadblocks and frustrations, just as Moses did in the above passage from the Qur’an. Sometimes we find ourselves trapped in negativity, anger, fear, and/or insecurity. Moses had just been asked by the Lord to “Go to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds; But speak to him mildly; perchance he may take warning or be in awe of Allah.” (Qur’an 20:24, 43-44) Even though Pharaoh was the most evil of despots, and had grievously and unjustly maltreated Moses and his people, Moses was instructed by God to go to Pharaoh directly and offer him support and guidance, in a kind and gentle way. Moses knew he could not complete this divine assignment without assistance in the form of support from his brother Aaron. He asked the Lord to ease his task and remove the impediment from his speech. (Qur’an 25:26-27) I love that about Moses. He was not afraid to ask Allah for help when he felt inadequate to the task. He didn’t say, “No way!” He said, “Help me!” And the help he requested was both inner help and outer help. “Open for me my heart,” he said first. He knew he had to believe with sincerity in the task he was being given, and he had to do it with compassion, not with hatred, pride or anger. He also knew he needed strength and support from a trusted family member. Moses was granted his request, perhaps because it was said in sincere faithfulness. Moses didn’t doubt that the task was important, and possible. But he wasn’t afraid to ask for help.
This is the kind of humility we are asked to bring to Allah when we face difficult challenges in life. Allah will ease our way, as long as we trust in his guidance and mercy. He will offer inner and outer help, but He won’t do the job for us! He will protect us from harm, but he will not spare us the struggle against our own ego: our fears, our sense of inadequacy, our closed-heartedness. The challenges and trials we are presented with in our lives are there to purify us and develop our highest self. They build our trust in Allah as well as our self-confidence in our ability to serve His cause and his people. This is an interactive love relationship, and it is one that is deepened and developed over a lifetime. It seems that the periods of greatest growth and inner development come during the times of the most harrowing challenges.